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Clinton threatens sanctions for undermining Somali political transition

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) mandate ends on Aug. 20, after which the country is due to approve a new constitution, form a parliament and elect new leadership.

"Attempts to obstruct progress and maintain the broken status quo will not be tolerated. We will encourage the international community to impose further sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes on people inside and outside the TFG who seek to undermine Somalia’s peace and security or to delay or even prevent the political transition," Clinton said, according to a State Department release.

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The secretary of State was attending a one-day conference with Somali and international political leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, aimed at pressuring the formation of a stable government and fighting terrorism within the country.

"We must all keep al-Shabaab on the run," Clinton said.

She told reporters that the international community needs to be prepared to make additional financial and training contributions and implement a U.N. security council ban on certain imports to tackle the threat of al-Shabaab.

Clinton said that al-Shabaab's recent announcement that it was joining al Qaeda proves that it is "not on the side of peace, stability or the side of the Somali people."

"Negotiating with al-Shabaab, would be the wrong path, but the United States will engage with Somalis who denounce al-Shabaab leadership and embrace the political road map and the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Somalis," she said.

However, Clinton ruled out the use of military strikes against the terrorist group inside Somalia.

"I am not a military strategist, but I think I know enough to say air strikes would not be a good idea and we have absolutely no reason to believe anyone, certainly not the United States, anyone is considering that," Clinton said.

When pressed on whether the United States would take military action against al-Shabaab, even at the request of the Somali government, Clinton said she had "no military rational for airstrikes in this kind of conflict."

"If there is some argument to be made I would certainly be interested in it, but I don't know who would do it," she added.

Clinton also announced Thursday that the United States is providing an additional $64 million in humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa, bringing the total since 2011 to more than $934 million, which included $211 million for Somalia.

She said that as the security and political presence improve in Somalia the United States would consider a more permanent diplomatic position in the country.